Bloodborne HIV: Don't Get Stuck!

Protect yourself from bloodborne HIV during healthcare and cosmetic services

Patron observed sterile treatment for image and performance enhancement drugs (IPED)

POST for image and performance enhancement drugs
1. Avoid skin-piercing procedures Find out if there are alternative types of treatment that doesn’t involve injections or other skin-piercing processes. It may be possible to find oral or topical (applied to the skin) treatments that are safer and equally effective. For example, there are oral anabolic steroid treatments available.
2. Use new, disposable instruments (a) Make sure all the items you use (sharps, syringes, vials) are new, unused, and not tampered with in any way. The packaging should be unbroken. It is better to buy the product just before you use it. If the vendor is a health professional, such as a pharmacist, ask for his or her advice on usage and safety.(b) Do not share skin-piercing products, syringes or vials with others; both the product and the equipment used to administer it may become contaminated.
3. You sterilize the instruments It is safer not to try to sterilize your own equipment. If you keep reused syringes and needles at home, even if you boil them after use, it is easy for them to pick up germs from hands, cloth, and air. This can lead to infections and abscesses. So: always use new disposables.
4. Ask providers how they sterilize instruments. Many image and performance enhancement drugs, or ‘IPEDs’, should be available in pre-filled syringes, so there should be no need to prepare or reuse anything. Check that your provider is using a fresh product and new equipment from a package opened in front of you. Look around the facility and ask the provider about hygiene and safety. Ask providers what standards they conform to; check if they display certification on their premises or on their website. If they are not willing to answer questions, do not have the treatment there.

Additional information on image and performance enhancement drugs that involve injections and other skin-piercing procedures

This website provides more information on injection risks and how to protect yourself; other pages discuss risks and self-protection with other cosmetic treatments, such as tattooing, piercing, manicures and pedicures and hair styling and shaving.

Newspapers in many countries have reported unsafe practices involving image and performance enhancing drugs. These treatments can be obtained in salons, or they can be self administered. Some practitioners may offer such treatments in the home, where conditions are likely to be unsuitable.


Emma Begley, Jim McVeigh, Vivian Hope, Image and Performance Enhancing Drugs – 2016 National Survey Results . National IPED Info Survey, Public Health Institute, Liverpool John Moores University. Available at: (accessed 5 August 2019).

2. Brennan R, Wells JSG, Van Hout MC, The injecting use of image and performance-enhancing drugs (IPED) in the general population: a systematic review, Health Soc Care Community. 2017 Sep;25(5):1459-1531. Available at: (accessed 5 August 2019).

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